On March 26, 2015, the Quebec government tabled Bill 42, An Act to group the Commission de l’équité salariale, the Commission des normes du travail and the Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail and to establish the Administrative Labour Tribunal in the National Assembly. The goal of the bill is to consolidate various employment and labour boards into one administrative labour board, among other things.
If enacted, effective January 1, 2016, the Pay Equity Board (Commission sur l’équité salariale), the Labour Standards Board (Commission des normes du travail) and the Workers’ Compensation Board (Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail, CSST) will be consolidated into one board called the Commission des droits et de la santé et de la sécurité du travail.
In addition, in order to harmonize the various rules of procedure and evidence, the Workers’ Compensation Tribunal (Commission des lésions professionnelles) and the Labour Relations Board (Commission des relations du travail) would be replaced by an Administrative Labour Tribunal called the Tribunal administratif en matière de travail.
Furthermore, the Bill deals with the powers of the proposed new tribunal.
Currently, each of these boards and judicial tribunals operates independently from the others and establishes its own policies and procedures. They use separate administrative resources, even where the administrative functions are essentially the same. With Bill 42, the government expects to simplify and improve access to justice and eliminate administrative overlap. Employers and employees would be able to access one organization for pay equity, labour standards, health and safety and workers’ compensation claims, as well as a single court of law to hear their workplace-related complaints and disputes.
The consolidations should also achieve consistency in decision-making and policies/procedures, while reducing time frames for scheduling matters and receiving decisions. It will also, we hope, enhance accessibility, accountability, transparency, service delivery, process efficiency, and capacity to innovate.
The government has indicated that the specialized services offered by all these different boards and tribunals will be maintained after the consolidation.
The Bill provides that, as a transitional measure that until the Commission des droits, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail and the Administrative Labour Tribunal are fully in place, the Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity will be granted temporary powers to issue directives with regard to the bodies to be grouped together.
Public hearings will be held shortly to receive feedback from the public and interested stakeholders on the Bill.